Delta State Flags Off Federal Government/ World Bank COVID-19 Intervention
The Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery & Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) program is a $750 million state-owned initiative backed by the World Bank, specifically for the elevation of communities, households and businesses affected by COVID-19. The objective of the program is to protect the livelihoods of existing and newly poor and vulnerable households, and support the recovery of local economic activity especially among micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
On Wednesday, September 22, 2021, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa officially flagged off the NG-CARES program for Delta State (Delta CARES).
The flag-off event held in Asaba was graced with dignitaries such as Mr. Olukayode Pitan, MD/CEO Bank of Industry, Chairman Aso Vaporaye, Chair, NG-CARES, Federal Technical Committee, Mrs. Orezi Esievo, Executive Secretary of Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (DEMSMA), among many others.
In his speech, Gov. Okowa expressed his gratitude to the Federal Government, the World Bank, Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) for the implementation of this laudable intervention program across Nigeria. He noted that the grant will help revive the MSME Sector in the State and improve the recipients’ quality of life. While congratulating the multitude of beneficiaries present at the event, Gov. Okowa urged the 1,818 beneficiaries in the first batch of the grant to put it to judicious use.
Mr. Olukayode Pitan said that BOI is proud to be a part of the NG-CARES Program, as it feeds into the organization’s mandate of empowering MSMEs. He stated that BOI has disbursed $772 million to over 3.8 million beneficiaries in 5 years, stressing the Bank’s commitment to the growth of small businesses.
The NG-CARES program consists of three result areas:
RA 1 – Increasing social transfers, basic services, and livelihood support to poor and vulnerable households
RA 2 – Increasing food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for poor households
RA3 – Facilitating Recovery and Enhancing capabilities of Micro Small and Medium scale enterprises (MSMEs).
The Bank of Industry is helping states deliver RA3, which is the business component of the NG-CARES program. With the use of its Growth Platform infrastructure, the design and execution of programs targeted at MSMEs is seamless. BOI’s Growth Platform employs technology, big data and an extensive network of field agents to profile the status of qualified beneficiaries from registration until the actual disbursement of funds.
Delta State is the first of the 30 states the Bank of Industry is supporting with their infrastructure to officially launch the NG-CARES program. The state has earmarked N400 Million out of the total NG-CARES fund for Delta state to be disbursed to 1,818 beneficiary businesses in the first batch of disbursements.
The beneficiaries were joyful and expressed their deepest gratitude to the Governor and other stakeholders. For Mrs. Mary Akpofure, her ₦150,000 grant will grow her poultry business exponentially. She also noted that the grant has come at the most opportune time, as she will be able to buy more birds for sale at Christmas.